I have taken a little break from writing just to gather myself after losing my daddy. Big loss, big void. As I sit down in front of my computer I’m not exactly sure what I am going to write about but here goes (it usually just flows once I get started).
The days and weeks have continued to move full blast ahead even though my mom and I’s world seems to have come to a screeching halt. Easter happened, His birthday came and went. My daughter Lizzy graduated from college and this was the first big event for my kids that my dad didn’t get to attend. But we pressed forward, we celebrated the Risen Lord, Ate the Cake in my dad’s honor and added another college graduate to his legacy of grandchildren he left behind. It’s been tough but for me the fog is beginning to lift a little.
I often think back to the words my children spoke at my dads funeral and they really have given me clarity. People who know me and know my family dynamic (with my ex, the bigs and the littles) will comment about how good of a job that I did with my 2 grown children. They are great people – highly educated, smart, driven, productive, they love their family, they see the world through eyes that want to and will help “the least of these”. My ex was completely absent from their lives, rarely ever “showing up” for anything, especially when they got older. So for some people on the outside looking in, I did do it alone. When I heard my children’s beautiful eulogy for my dad I finally connected all the dots. He stood in the GAP for me and my kids. He showed up in a big way every time he was called or asked to. He was the most consistent male figure in their lives and mine too.
Think about you and your husband raising your children. You watch them start to walk, and grow up and you both ooooh and awwww and talk about the things they do, they accomplish, the points they score, etc. I never had that in a husband….. most of the time I was alone…. EXCEPT…… that I wasn’t….. my dad always showed up!. He was the one I would talk to about what funny thing my kids would do or say. He was the one who showed up for every 5th grade girls basketball game, every soccer game, middle school play, grandparents day celebrations or high school boys basketball game no matter where we were playing! We celebrated together each one of my children’s WINS and comforted their losses. When Christopher was in high school I walked into the Boys Basketball Gym and while paying my entry fee the lady said “Your husbands already here”. I looked puzzled knowing that my husband at the time was not coming – She quickly pointed in the direction of the stands to where my DAD sat, waiting on me. I laughed and told daddy either you look really young or I look old. We were always together.
I was so lucky to have had my dad in my life for the amount of time I did. So many people aren’t that lucky. Below are each of my children’s tributes to my dad…I just want everyone who didn’t hear to know… it’s important to me that people know just what kind of impact and legacy he left us with and give him the credit that he is due for who they have become!
For those of you who don’t know me my name is Lizzy Portie and T-Boy was my grandpa, my poppy. And he was also my best friend growing up. Some of my best and favorite memories included my poppy. When I was 4 he would have tea parties with me, wear a bib and say goo goo gah gah on command. When I was 6 he would sit outside with me and be the judge for my various talent shows for hours on end. When I was 8, poppies love for Everybody loves Raymond rubbed off on me, and as an 8 year old I would get excited to go over to his house to sit on the couch all day and watch everybody loves Raymond with him, until of course he turned on the old western movies and that was always my cue to go back home. He would also take me to the basketball gym with him when he would do the books. he loved when I went and kept letting me come back despite the fact that he knew I would spend $20 at the concession stand every single time. When I was 11 he came to every single basketball game I had, even though 5th grade girls basketball is probably the most painful thing to watch, he was always there. Throughout middle school and high school he picked me up from school every day, and he would save his change so that he could always afford my afternoon snacks that I insisted on everyday. He was always and I mean always there for me. He would drop everything to make sure that he was there for me. If I forgot something at home and didn’t realize until we were already in lake Charles, he would turn around without question to go back to get it. He never complained about our busy schedules or the amount of times we made him stop to get us snacks at the gas station, and he never complained when we turned off his elvis radio to listen to our “crap music.” He was always so happy to be at our beck and call. He really was my best friend.
As I got older I realized that he was not only my friend that I would get to hangout and play with, but he was also my role model. He was selfless, caring, strong, protective, loving, and supportive. Little did I know that all of my time spent with him playing tea party or sitting around watching TV shaped me into who I am today. He was one of the most influential people in my life. He showed me what a good father, husband, and grandpa looks like. He showed me what its like to love the people around you uncondionally. And he showed me how to be 100% unapologetically yourself. My life has been shaped and molded by so many people: my mom, my nana, my poppy, and even my brother just to name a few. And they all have one common denominator. We all were surrounded by Poppy. He touched and impacted everyone around him and I am forever grateful that I was one of those people. I am better because of him.
I will never forget the feelings I felt so many times when I would have a basketball game or I needed a ride and I wasn’t sure if my busy parents would be able to make it, but I always knew that my poppy would be sitting in the gym or in the carpool line waiting for me. He was my biggest supporter. He was my constant. I knew he would always be there for me. And until the day he died he was always the most consistent male role model I have ever had in my life. He always showed up, he always answered my calls for help, and he was always supporting me though every step of my life being the most proud poppy. He truly left a legacy for himself, especially in my life.
It breaks my heart to know that he wont be there on Christmas mornings, at my graduation or wedding, and that he wont be able to show my future kids the love that he showed me, but I take comfort knowing that he left such a lasting impression on my whole family, and I know that he will always be with us because we each have a little bit of him inside of us.
This is a picture of kips words (didn’t have the electronic copy)